dumb


dumb
dumb adj
1 Dumb, mute, speechless, inarticulate mean lacking the power to speak.
Dumb and mute are often used interchangeably, but when used in distinction from each other, dumb implies an incapacity for speech (as in the case of animals and inanimate objects or of human beings whose organs of speech are defective); mute implies an inability to speak, owing to one's never having heard speech sounds (as in the case of one who is deaf congenially or has lost his hearing before being old enough to reproduce heard sounds); thus, persons once called deaf and dumb are usually deaf-mutes who have healthy speech organs and can be trained to speak through the senses of sight and touch
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dumb stones whereon to vent their rage— Arnold

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{

a mute child

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When used of persons who are normally able to speak, dumb (see also STUPID) usually suggests deprivation of the power to speak; mute stresses a compelling cause for keeping or maintaining silence
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deep shame had struck me dumbShak.

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how terrible is that dumb grief which has never learned to moan— Galsworthy

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all sat mute, pondering the danger with deep thoughts— Milton

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{

some mute inglorious Milton— Gray

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Speechless commonly implies momentary deprivation of the power of speech
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struck speechless with terror

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I can remember, across the years, standing there with that paper in my hand; dumb, speechless, and probably tearful— White

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Inarticulate implies either lack of the power to speak at all
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the inarticulate people of the dead— Shelley

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{

the inarticulate hungers of the heart— Sherman

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or, especially, inability to speak intelligibly or clearly, usually on account of some powerful emotion but sometimes because of lack of power to express one's thoughts or feelings
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inarticulate with rage

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stood looking down on her in inarticulate despair— Wharton

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2 dull, *stupid, slow, dense, crass
Analogous words: & Contrasted words: see those at DULL 1
Antonyms: articulate (sense 2)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms: